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113 countries yet to have woman head of state – UN

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, also known as UN Women has said 113 countries have never had a woman Head of State and only 26 are led by a woman today.

The UN Women, in a new figure on gender equality released on Monday, said women should be put first as many countries head to the polls in 2024.

The new data comes as the world celebrated the International Day for Women in Diplomacy, recognising the different ways women are breaking barriers and making a difference in the field of diplomacy.

“As many countries head to the polls this year, we all must put women first, at the pinnacle of power, where and when it matters the most,” UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous.

As of  January 1, 2024, women make up less than a third of Cabinet ministers in 141 countries. In seven countries, there are no women represented in Cabinets at all. Meanwhile, only 23 per cent of Ministerial positions are held by women.

Women are also underrepresented as Permanent Representatives to the UN.

As of May 2024, women held 25 per cent of senior ambassador posts in New York, 35 per cent in Geneva, and 33.5 per cent in Vienna.

“Our work is guided by the belief that when women lead, the world is better for all people and the planet.

Women’s equal participation in governance and leadership is key to improving lives for all,” Bahous said.

According to her,  electing and appointing women in leadership positions signals strong political will for gender equality and demonstrates a collective commitment to tackling the challenges the world faces today.

“As we prepare to mark 30 years since the passage of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the world’s most progressive blueprint for advancing women’s rights, UN Women continues to work to ensure women lead and thrive in shaping and driving positive change, including through occupying the most senior positions of power”, she said.

In 1995 the Beijing conference built on political agreements reached at the three previous global conferences on women, and consolidated five decades of legal advances aimed at securing the equality of women with men in law and in practice.

It aimed at accelerating the implementation of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women  and at removing all the obstacles to women’s active participation in all spheres of public and private life through a full and equal share in economic, social, cultural and political decision-making.

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